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CASSANDRA JENKINS — Balance, downtime important part of education

I’ve been a part of The Port Arthur News organization since July and in the last couple of months I have been charged with the education beat. I’ve met with high schoolers, bands, college students, teachers, principals and everything in between.

As part of my job, I am tasked with filling out our weekly Bright Futures feature. Monday, I interviewed a young lady at Port Neches-Groves High School for this week’s edition, and this girl did it all. Kristen Crippen is captain of the drill team, president of the student body council, vice president of the National Honor Society and editor of the yearbook.

One of the first questions that came to my mind as she talked was how did she balance it all?

I’ve thought similarly with other Bright Future candidates.

Crippen responded by saying there were a lot of sleepless nights.

“I have to balance how much I rest with how much work needs to be done,” she said. “I like to use my time wisely and utilize how much time I have left. I also use other officers and people who are in leadership positions who want to help. I also rely on my mom, who helps ground me and reminds me I don’t have time for everything.”

Crippen’s response was a smart one, to keep from being too overwhelmed students need balance, rest and time management. Wanting to do it all is OK, as long as self care is part of that “all.”

A study by NYU showed that most high school students’ stress originates from school and activities. Some of the best ways to combat that stress is through self-care techniques, like getting enough sleep, exercising, staying organized, eating healthy and making room for downtime.

An article by MentalHelp.net also related how time management is a huge way to prevent copious amounts of stress. It prioritizes making time for work and family responsibilities while spreading out predictable sources of stress.

For example, if you know you have a big test coming up, schedule time to study when you have the least amount of other activities going on, even move things around if needed.

As holidays and midterms begin to creep up as the year draws to a close, it’s important for students of any age or class to remember that making time to hang out with friends, take a nap or enjoy a book is just as important to success as studying for a test, practicing for a concert or attending a meeting.

To be truly successful, put balance, happiness and self-care on your to-do list.

Cassandra Jenkins is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at cassie.jenkins@panews.com.